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Walmart looks to suppliers for a more sustainable beef supply chain

Walmart has updated its pledge to source sustainable beef from suppliers for both its private brand and national brand products in Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, including a need for suppliers to have a more scientific approach to transparency.

Doug McMillon, chief executive officer at Walmart, originally highlighted 20 key commodities that needed to be sourced more sustainably by 2025, with beef being one of them. David Baskin, merchandising vice president, meat, Walmart U.S., and Kyle Kinnard, vice president and divisional merchandise manager of meat and seafood, Sam’s Club U.S., shared the latest measures Walmart would be deploying to improve sustainability of its beef products.

They wrote in a post for the retailer that they are prioritizing soil health, animal welfare and responsible use of antibiotics: “We will continue working with suppliers to improve grain sourcing and grazing management practices across a total of 12 million acres (or more than nine million football fields), while upholding our suppliers to the ‘Five Freedoms for animal welfare. We expect our suppliers will not tolerate animal abuse of any kind and support our position on the judicious use of antibiotics in farm animals.”

Aiming for more transparency, Walmart said it aspires to source from fresh beef suppliers who have a tech-enabled supply chain to measure sustainability impact at scale. “The infusion of modern technology may help beef suppliers measure the benefits of grazing and grain best practices, adaptively manage and offer a more accurate way to trace impact,” Baskin and Kinnard wrote. “It can also help support beef suppliers’ efforts to better understand the environmental footprint of their supply chains, for instance using geographic and greenhouse gas indicators.”

Walmart’s asking suppliers to participate in annual reporting initiatives like Walmart’s Project Gigaton initiative and THESIS performance assessments, and the retailer is partnering with groups such as the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, Midwest Row Crop Collaborative and Field to Market, and are asking suppliers to get involved too.

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